Homemade Champagne Vinegar & Vinaigrette

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We had some leftover champagne from New Year’s Eve… Don’t judge. Since it sat out all night, I figured the expensive champagne was flat and undrinkable. I almost poured it down the drain but that seemed like such a waste of a nice wine, so I decided to try making vinegar. I mean, why not?  I had nothing to lose and if it turned out well, much to gain. Well, luckily my ‘science experiment’ worked out pretty well and I now have several bottles of lovely champagne vinegar.  Champagne vinegar is delicious and has a more delicate flavor than red wine vinegar and is expensive to buy in a store. Best of all it’s so easy! If you find yourself in a similar situation after a party with leftover wine, STOP!  Don’t pour it out!  Instead, turn it into a delicious homemade vinegar.  I have only one caveat. It is very easy but don’t expect instant results, as it can take one to three months for it to be ready. Have some pretty bottles ready and you have some great hostess or holiday gifts.

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It’s simple.  Just pour champagne, red or white wine or cider into a wide mouthed jar or ceramic container, add Bragg’s apple cider vinegar and water.  Cover with cheesecloth to keep out dust and fruit flies but still allow airflow.  Store the container at room temperature and let it sit, undisturbed, for 1 to 3 months. The liquid will grow more cloudy, as a “mother”, a spongy or cloudy blob will form. The mother is formed by a friendly bacteria, Mycoderma aceti, which turns the sugar in alcohol into vinegar.  You can buy a vinegar mother from a local brewery supply store or you can use Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar which is available in many grocery stores. Braggs is raw, unfiltered and unpasteurized, so it contains the mother necessary for this process to work.  Most other store-bought vinegars are pasteurized, so the necessary bacteria has all been killed, so they won’t work for making more vinegar.

Taste your vinegar beginning at one month.  If it still tastes like champagne, it’s not done.  Let it sit and taste it again in two weeks. Mine took two months, but most resources I checked indicate it can take up to three months. Once the vinegar tastes right to you, filter it to remove the cloudiness and any residuals from the mother and pour it into clean bottles.  I like to place paper coffee filters in my funnel when filling my jars to remove any possible debris. Vinegar is shelf-stable, meaning it doesn’t need to be canned or refrigerated and will keep a long, long time.

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Champagne vinegar is so good that it is best in simple recipes where it gets to be the star. I have provided a very easy but delicious recipe that combines champagne vinegar with olive oil, dijon mustard, salt and pepper.  I love it best just tossed with mixed fresh greens or maybe some creamy sliced avocado.

TIPS:  If you want to save ‘the mother’ for future use, use a turkey baster to get the liquid out without disturbing the blobby mother.  Add more wine, a splash of water and start again.  The Container Store is a good source for nice bottles but they are available in many places.  I really liked this easy pour bottle whose spigot opens and closes for the vinegar I’m keeping in my kitchen.

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CHAMPAGNE VINEGAR

750 ml flat champagne
1/4 cup Bragg’s apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
widemouth jar or ceramic container
cheesecloth

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  • Pour all liquid ingredients into the jar or container. Cover mouth with cheesecloth and secure with a rubberband. Place in a cool location and let sit for 1-3 months
  • Taste after one month to check for doneness.  If it doesn’t taste like good vinegar yet, let it sit for another two weeks and repeat.

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  • Pour into bottles through a filter, if desired, to strain out the mother or use a turkey baster to remove the vinegar without disturbing the mother, keeping it for another use. Store bottles at room temperature. I bottled three for gift giving/storage and one with a pouring lid to keep in my kitchen.

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CHAMPAGNE VINAIGRETTE

  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup champagne vinegar
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

Whisk ingredients together and serve at room temperature.

Homemade Champagne Vinegar

  • Servings: 4 cups
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

 20160302_071504

750 ml flat champagne
1/4 cup Bragg’s apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
widemouth jar or ceramic container
cheesecloth

  • Pour all liquid ingredients into the jar or container.
  • Cover mouth with cheesecloth and secure with a rubberband.
  • Place in a cool location and let sit for 1-3 months
  • Taste after one month to check for doneness.  If it doesn’t taste like good vinegar yet, let it sit for another two weeks and repeat.
  • Pour into bottles through a filter, if desired, to strain out the mother or use a turkey baster to remove the vinegar without disturbing the mother, keeping it for another use.
  • Store bottles at room temperature.

Champagne Vinaigrette

  • Servings: 2 cups
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

 20160229_202032

  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup champagne vinegar
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

Whisk ingredients together and serve at room temperature.

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